If English is the predominant language in your country, you probably didn’t think twice about using it for your website. However, if you don’t translate your site into other languages as well, you could miss out on significant opportunities to increase its traffic and conversions.
Fortunately, there are plenty of multilingual plugins for WordPress that can translate your site quickly and with minimal effort. Alternatively, you could hire a translator who can incorporate the idiosyncrasies of another language into your content, so it sounds more natural to native speakers.
In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important to translate your website into languages other than English. We’ll also examine three different methods you can use for translating your website, looking at the pros and cons of each. Let’s get started!
Why You Should Consider Making Your Website Multilingual
Given that most web content is globally accessible, it seems like it should be easy to reach users all over the world. Unfortunately, if your website is only available in English, that may not be the case. After all, anyone who can’t read your website or has difficulty doing so isn’t likely to stick around to read your blog posts or purchase your products.
It’s estimated that over half of the content available on the internet is in English. However, Spanish and Mandarin surpass English as the most widely-spoken languages in the world, and China and India both have more internet users than the US.
By offering your website’s content only in English, you miss out on reaching a huge pool of potential users who can’t read any of your posts, product descriptions, or other content. Even people who know English as a second or third language tend to prefer websites in their native tongue. They may leave as soon as they see that your site is only available in English.
Put simply, translating your site into multiple languages can mean both more visitors and a better conversion rate. E-commerce sites will likely see more sales, and your blog posts may receive comments from readers all over the world. You can even implement multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO), in order to improve your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings.
All in all, running a multilingual site is a fast and simple way to grow your online presence and reach new audiences. By investing in making your site more accessible to people around the globe, you can improve its visibility and engagement, and even increase your income.
3 Ways to Create a Multilingual WordPress Site
When it comes to translating your website, there are two traditional options: using a multilingual plugin for WordPress sites, or hiring a professional translator. Below, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both methods, and also offer one more alternative.
1. Use a Multilingual WordPress Plugin
If you’re running a WordPress site, there are several plugins that can help you translate your content efficiently. If you opt for one of these, you can have your entire site translated for free in the time it takes to install, activate, and configure the plugin.
Additionally, a single solution can often translate your website into multiple languages. Most human translators, on the other hand, only specialize in one or maybe a few languages. You would have to hire several people to do the job of one plugin, and achieve the highest level of accessibility and visibility for your site.
WPML is an example of a plugin that makes creating a multilingual site easy:
It will translate all of your site’s content in minutes, and provides access to over 40 languages. In addition, it offers extra features that enable you to easily manage and edit your translations. Weglot and Polylang are two more top-quality options that are also worth checking out.
The downside to using machine translators is that they aren’t always accurate. Language is complex, and even the best automatic translation system can make mistakes. Most plugins provide you with a way to make custom changes, but this only helps if you know the language in question. If you’re looking for the utmost in accuracy, you may want to consider the next method on our list.
2. Hire a Translator for Your Website
While plugins can translate your content quickly and cheaply, working with a professional can significantly improve the quality of your results. In general, human translators are better at achieving certain nuances that machine translators just aren’t capable of dealing with yet.
For example, machine translators often have a hard time with words for which there is no exact equivalent in the target language. This could result in an inaccurate and confusing phrase or sentence. On the other hand, a translator would know how to work around the problem, in order to communicate the original idea clearly.
Professional translators are also aware of tricky elements such as figures of speech and slang. They’re usually more capable of creating content with a natural cadence, and can replace any English phrases that they know won’t make sense in the target language. Overall, translations done by humans tend to sound more organic.
Of course, translating an entire website can get expensive. Most professional translation services charge per word. A single blog post of 1,000 words, for example, could cost you between $80 and $150. Multiply that across your entire site (and multiple languages), and you’ll have a large bill on your hands.
Freelancers may charge more affordable hourly rates, but their fees can still add up, and the quality of their results can vary. It’s also possible to negotiate a reduced fee for a large-scale translation, but chances are high that the project will still be pricey. This makes hiring a translator best either for small sites, or for those with ample room in their budgets.
3. Get a Translator to Review Your Multilingual Plugin’s Results
Deciding between an accurate but expensive translation and a cheap automated one can feel like a losing battle. A free, low-quality translation does little good, but you don’t want to drain your bank account just to translate your site either. Fortunately, there is a middle option that will enable you to minimize the problems presented by both machine and human translators.
By using a multilingual plugin and then hiring someone to review its results, you can save money while still providing your international users with high-quality content. Since there will be less work to do, you can save a lot of money over a from-scratch translation. At the same time, you’ll know that the multilingual versions of your site are free from any glaring errors or poor translations.
Often, this option is the most cost-effective for small- to mid-sized sites. The easiest way to accomplish it is to use a plugin that’s set up with this strategy in mind. For instance, both WPML and Weglot can connect you with professional translators, so you can get help as soon as the plugin is finished working on your site.
The advantages of translating your website are plentiful. By enabling global visitors to engage with your site in their own languages, you’ll encourage them to make purchases or post comments. Plus, with multiple techniques available, you can choose the approach that’s best-suited to your site.
In this article, we looked at two traditional methods of translating your WordPress website, and one alternative option:
- Using a multilingual WordPress plugin.
- Hiring a translator for your website.
- Getting a translator to review your multilingual plugin’s results.
Do you have any questions about translating your website, or which method to use? Let us know in the comments section below!
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